The 2020 R3 million Gr1 Sun Met dished up the thrills and disappointments as expected with hometown hero MJ Byleveld outgunning international star Ryan Moore and defending champion Rainbow Bridge to give Milnerton veteran Vaughan Marshall his third Met winner, courtesy of the Captain Al colt, One World.
After all the months of speculation and debate, many questions were answered shortly after 5pm on Saturday as the wind gained momentum and the clouds punctuated the sky after a day of glorious sunshine and some top-class racing at Kenilworth.
Marshall, the ‘senior’ in the Met trainer class of 2020, saddled La Fabulous to win the Cape flagship all the way back in 1996 and followed up in 2014 with Hill Fifty Four.
And the victory in the 158th renewal was on as Piere Strydom and 2019 third placer Head Honcho gave One World a perfect lead early on, just ahead of Rainbow Bridge and Twist Of Fate.
Hawwaam and Vardy were relaxed lengths back.
In the run for home, Head Honcho started buckling and Ryan Moore gave Rainbow Bridge the office as the son of Ideal World moved marginally ahead of One World.
But you can’t put a good man down, no matter the Gr1 credentials, and Byleveld seized his chance to bury the ghost of his 2013 runner-up frustration on Hill Fifty Four.
Under a determined driving ride, One World (15-1) dug deep and shaded Rainbow Bridge (17-4) to record a 0,20 length win in a time of 122,48 secs.
A superb and courageous win from the wide draw!
Hawwaam (43-20) flew up late to finish a well beaten third, with Twist Of Fate (14-1) outgunning his more fancied stablemate Vardy to bank fourth cheque.
Vardy (34-10) finished 5,45 lengths back and never showed anything of his customary kick.
If anything, the Snaith’s reigning SA Horse Of The Year Do It Again (7-1), who ran second last year, was a bigger disappointment as he failed to show and ran 7 lengths downfield. Something is clearly amiss.
“This means the world to me. Mr Marshall has stuck to our plan. My folks are here too today. When Rainbow Bridge quickened, my horse showed fight and he came right back. My Dad told me once that nobody died from hard work. There is a lot of luck in this game too. To my sponsors Avontuur. To the whole team – we will have a massive braai to celebrate this!” said an emotional Byleveld, who has enjoyed one of his best seasons to date.
Trainer Vaughan Marshall said that One World was a courageous horse.
“Everything panned out and it was a great ride by MJ. After this his next trip could be to Klawervlei. Thanks to Adele (Alsop) and my whole team. It’s a very special win.”
A Klawervlei bred, One World was another Met winner for Captain Al (Al Mufti) and is out of the UK placed Aquilonia (Giant’s Causeway).
One World, who races in a partnership of former NHA Chairman Ken Truter and his wife Jane, as well as Braam van Huyssteen and Etienne Braun, cost R425 000 on the Cape Premier Yearling Sale and took his earnings here to R5 631 875 with 10 wins and 4 places from 14 starts.
Mr consistency himself, he may well be the next son of Captain Al to join the Klawervlei stallion roster.
Gr1 The Sun Met (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, February 1, R3 million, 2000m, turf, good, 2.02.48
1 – ONE WORLD (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Aquilonia (USA) by Giant’s Causeway (USA). Owner Messrs E A Braun, K P Truter & A J van Huyssteen & Mrs Jane Truter; Breeder Klawervlei Stud; trainer VH Marshall; jockey M Byleveld
2 – Rainbow Bridge (SAF), 60.0, b g 5, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
3 – Hawwaam (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Silvano (GER) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
Margins: 0.20, 3.50, 0.20